Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5)

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) is considered to be the gold standard for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis.  The 30-item structured interview corresponds to the diagnostic criteria for PTSD described in version 5 of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).   The Life Events Checklist (LEC) is used in conjunction with the CAPS to assess PTSD Criterion A (the trauma experienced).  The full interview typically takes 45-60 minutes to administer.

Use & availability

The CAPS is the intellectual property of the National Center for PTSD, a division of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  It is available at no cost to health professionals, but a request for use must be submitted to VA.  This can be done online at https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/ncptsd-instrument-request-form.asp.

Psychometric properties

The CAPS has proven reliability and is well-validated.  Initial validation of the DSM-5-aligned version shows = .83 convergent validity with the widely-validated CAPS-IV.  It has been translated into more than 10 languages, with validation studies occurring in Bosnian and Swedish.

References

Department of Veterans Affairs, United States of America. (2017). National Center for PTSD.  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/ (accessed 1 September 2017).

Weathers, F.W., Keane, T.M., & Davidson, J.R.T. (2001). Clinician Administered PTSD Scale: The first 10 years of research. Depression and Anxiety, 13(3), 132-156.

Weathers, F.W., Blake, D.D., Schnurr, P.P., Kaloupek, D.G., Marx, B.P., & Keane, T.M. (2015). The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) – Past Month. Available from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/documents/ptsd_trauma_assessments.asp.